To be able to discuss environmental issues intelligently, you don’t have to have a deep science background. But to understand what is happening on a fundamental level, you really do need to know the science. Some time ago, I decided that for my next blog topic, I would tackle the subject of climate change from a scientific perspective. I am writing for a wide, general-interest audience, and I have no idea how familiar my readers are with the scientific principles I want to discuss. (I’m not a professional scientist myself, and my own scientific knowledge leaves a lot to be desired.) I therefore decided to write a physics primer where those readers who lacked a science background could fill themselves in with what they needed to know, and to which I could refer when I discussed a scientific concept that might not be familiar to everybody.
The project proved far more involved than I ever thought it would be. I thought I would just scribble a few posts and be done with it. I’ve ended up so far with 21 posts, and I’ve only finished six of them (not counting this one). I started in January 2014, it is now July, and I am far, far from finishing. I thought I’d better publish what I have now or it would be a long time before I’d have new material on my blog.
These first six posts are a review of the physical and chemical principles behind the existence of matter: atoms, molecules, ions, charge, mass, how to write chemical formulas and equations. Later posts will discuss energy, heat, and Earth’s climate system.
If you came here via a link, you can navigate between posts by clicking on the arrows that appear above the post heading. The right arrow (→) always points to the next post; the left arrow (←) always points to the previous post. In this particular post, the right arrow is labeled A Physics Primer 1: The Atomic Nature of Matter and points to the next post. The left arrow is labeled Welcome to the Environmental Analyst and points to the home page (that was unintentional, it just worked out that way). To return to the home page of the blog from any blog post, click the “Home” tab at the top of the page.
The posts are heavily footnoted. They don’t necessarily show where I got my information, but they do show that what I write has a basis. I also include additional information and observations in the footnotes, so if you have the time, check them out.
At the time of this writing, July 11, 2014, I have not had my posts reviewed by a professional scientist, so the chances are higher that I included some erroneous information. Be aware of this and don’t hesitate to challenge me if something I wrote doesn’t seem right to you.
While I do hold strong views on environment topics, this part of the discussion should be free of any partisan bias. If you find any, or if you have any other comment, please let me know. Feel free to type your comment on the bottom of the post, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . All constructive criticism is most welcome!